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neither are very angelical : the head of the saint is finely drawn and painted; the Christ is likewise well drawn for Rubens; but the effect is rather hard, proceeding from its being wrought up too highly : it is smooth as enamel, which takes off that suppleness which appears in his other works : this is certainly not in his best manner, though it seems to have cost him the most trouble. In the sacristy is a fine portrait by Rubens.
CAPUCHINS. The high altar by Rubens : Christ dead, lying on the lap of the Virgin; two angels holding the lance; near is a St. Francis, and St. Elizabeth with a handkerchief to her eyes. This was probably one of Rubens' best pictures, but it appears to have suffered much from cleaning ; the mezzotints of the flesh of Christ are quite blue, as is the linen : upon the whole it has the appearance of the coloured prints of Le Blond. The drapery of the Magdalen at the feet of Christ is execrable; the angels have been totally repainted. There are prints of this picture both by Pontius and Bolswert.
On the pillar on the right hand near the choir, is St. Anthony of Padua, holding the Christ in his arms, by Vandyck; and on the left hand its companion, St. Francis : both those figures have great expression; but they are slightly painted, and certainly not intended - for public pictures. Prints of these by Krafft.
ST. GERY. The entombing of Christ, by. Koeberger, 1660 ; an admirable picture in the style of the Roman school. The character elegant, well drawn and coloured; the blue drapery of the Virgin is the only defective part; it is ill folded, and the colour does not harmonise with the rest. This picture is equal to the best of Domenichino. I was much surprised to find such excellence in a painter of whom I knew little more than seeing a print of his portrait among Vandyck's heads. I have since seen more of his works, but none equal to this ; which I would place in the first rank of all the pictures at Brussels.
The fascinating power of Rubens' pencil has prevented this picture from possessing such reputation as it undoubtedly deserves : simplicity is no match against the splendour of Rubens, at least at first sight; and few stay to consider longer. The best pictures of the Italian school, if they ornamented the churches of Antwerp, would be overpowered by the splendour of Rubens ; they certainly ought not to be overpowered by it; but it resembles eloquence, which bears down every thing before it, and often triumphs over superior wisdom and learning.
In the first chapel on the right hand, is the birth of Christ, by Bernard Van Orlay: it is a chapel belonging to this painter's family, in which they all lie buried. Under this picture is another, in which are portraits of himself and his family; nine figures on their knees, as praying; but these must have been painted by his descendants, who were likewise "painters, the date on the picture being 1590, thirty years after Bernard's death. Both pictures are painted in the old dry manner; but there is great truth in the countenance of the portraits, and the Nativity shows it came from a good school, that of Raffaelle ; there is a simplicity and earnestnegs in one of the shepherds, which is ad. mirable.
In the second chapel, a good picture of Christ mocked by the Jews, by M. Coxis.
MR. DANOOT's. Among the private cabinets at Brussels, that of Mr. Danoot, the banker, claims particular attention. He has appropriated little more than one room of his house for pictures, and has therefore been very attentive in the choice of what he has admitted. . To mention only a few of the most striking :Two sketches by Rubens; the Rape of the Sabines, and the Women endeavouring to prevent the Roman and Sabine Soldiers from joining battle : this last has more novelty, and is the most interesting of the two. The women are here placed between the two armies, some hanging on the soldiers' arms, others pressing the horses backward, and others
holding up their infants at arms'-length, and showing them to the soldiers to excite their compassion. The whole composition is full of animation, to which the air of the horses, thus pressed backwards, does not a little contribute. Both these sketches are admirably composed, and in every respect excellent; few pictures of Rubens, even of his most finished works, give a higher idea of his genius. All the parts are more determined than is usual in sketches. They are what I apprehend he put into the hands of his scholars, from which they advanced and carried on the great picture, which he afterwards retouched and finished.
Another sketch of the same master; the finding of Romulus and Remus.
A Child in a Cradle, with three women, by Rubens; the scene a landscape, the figures somewhat less than life. This picture has not so much force as his works in general, and appears not to have received his last touches.
Rembrandt's portrait, by himself, half length, when he was old, in a very unfinished manner, but admirable for its colour and effect: his pallette and pencils and mahlstick are in his hand, if it may be so called; for it is so slightly touched, that it can scarce be made out to be a hand.
A woman with a sprig of jessamy in her hand, by Lionardo da Vinci. There is beauty in the countenance, but it is in a hard manner. A small picture by Young Teniers, of Boors shooting at a but
or target; in his best manner. His name , and the date are on it, which I took down to mark the part of his life, when he was in his zenith of perfection; the date is 1645; he was then 35 years old, being born in 1610.
Another picture of old David Teniers, which has a good landscape, but it has not the neat and elegant touch of young David; it seems to have proceeded from a more clumsy workman. .
PRINCE DE LIGNE's. There is nothing here worth attention, except a whole-length portrait of John Count of Nassau, by Vandyck. The head of this picture is engraved in Vandyck's book of portraits. The character and drawing are admirable; the face seems to have lost a little of its brilliancy : It is much in the manner of Lord Strafford's picture in the possession of the Duke of Grafton.
A picture of Minerva and Mercury, bridling or taming Pegasus. It appears to be a Vandyck, or a copy after him: as it hangs between two windows, I could not determine which was the case.
A Pieta of Vandyck, in the manner of Rubens ; the same as one at Dusseldorp, but not so good; and it is there disputed whether their picture is of Rubens or Vandyck. The Virgin's eyes are disagreeably red; the whole without beauty of any kind, except in regard to its colour.
About half a dozen Luca Giordanos.